Say Cheese!Having a hobby is good for body and soul regardless of your age and gender. A hobby offers ‘me time’ a great opportunity to escape the rat race of life. It also offers plenty of opportunities to interact and network with other individuals who share the same passion. Relaxation and interactions with others are paramount to our wellbeing.

 

It is not surprising that photography features on top of the hobby list for people from all walks of life. Most people nowadays own some form of digital photo equipment be it an integrated smart phone camera, pocket camera or for the more experienced users, a digital SLR. Together with advanced home printers and often-free software, it is easy to let your creativity take you as far as you want.

 

While most photos retain their digital form, on occasion there is a need to print an image and with so many types of photo paper to choose from, the question is which one is the most suitable for you? Printing your work is an opportunity to share your hobby with others, boost your self-esteem following kind comments from family and friends and have a hardcopy of your work. Choosing the correct printing media depends on the following.

 

Find Out Which Printing Technology You Have – Printers use one of two technologies either inkjet or laser. Your first step is to determine which technology your printer uses, as photo paper designed for laser will prove incompatible with an inkjet printer and naturally the other way around.

 

Photo Paper Size – Sizes vary from the smallest 6×4” to a professional A0 large format paper. Obtaining a size which is too big for your needs will often mean that you have over spent as size will influence the price in most cases. The common sizes that are favored by home users include 6×4” and 7×5” as these are standard photo album sizes. Next you will find an A5 and A4 size papers that are often inserted into frames. Other possible options include A3 size (twice the size of an A4 sheet) and A3+ though these two require a dedicated oversized printer that most people won’t poses.

 

Choosing The Paper Finish – Each size is available in three common finish types. While it is possible to rectify buying the wrong size by trimming a larger image, it is impossible to rectify purchasing the wrong finish. Common finish include:

 

  • Glossy – The highest sheen and glare finish is glossy. When viewed directly, the sheen allows viewing small details in the images. When viewed from the side and under certain light conditions, the image will not be visible because of the reflection off the surface and the viewing angle might need to be adjusted.

 

  • Satin – You may come across satin as Semi-Gloss finish. Different manufactures use one of the two terminologies. Satin contains less sheen than glossy finish and viewing angle is improved as a result.

 

  • Pearl and Lustre – The two are variations of satin, distinguished by the level of sheen in the coating. Pearl is a satin finish with a higher level of glossiness, while Lustre is another variation with a lower level of glossiness.

 

  • Matt – Unlike glossy and satin that include sheen to some extent, matt has no glare. This paper is mostly used for reports, booklets and presentations where there is no “keepsake” value to the image

 

Brand Selection – Perhaps the biggest misconception in the world of printed media is that as an owner of a certain brand, you have to purchase the brand’s own range of photo paper. For example, people often believe that if they own a Canon printer, they must always purchase Canon branded papers and the same goes for other well know brands. The fact is that printer manufactures do not make paper themselves. It is the work of external companies whose sole purpose is to produce photo paper. Therefore you can and should evaluate further options provided the media is compatible with other brand, which is often the case.

 

Enjoy your hobby and print your work!

 

Written by the folks at Photo Paper Direct.

About The Author

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I've worked as an Occupational Therapist for many years dealing with physical and mental health patients, both in hospitals and the community. Living a healthy, well balanced life with a good diet, regular exercise and a taking a positive outlook are crucial to becoming a very well being indeed - sometimes easier said than done!

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